Tuesday, February 5

Utilities - Looking Back on My Household Utilities Cost


Every year I look back at the previous year to see how I am making and spending my money.  Comparing year over year helps me to identify where I need to make adjustments in my lifestyle.  It helps me make my goals and in general is a good road-map for my future.  Today I wanted to look at my spending on Utilities.

I am always interested in comparing how much I spend to "operate" my house to what others spend.  The cost of running a home is a fairly large expense, so keeping it under control is key to meeting my financial goals.  I am continuously looking at ways to be more energy efficient.

In 2012, we effectively reduced our utilities expense by $557, or $46 per month.  I say "effectively" because that excludes what we had to pay in deposits to turn on the utilities when we moved.

  • Our average monthly electric bill was $60.91.  This was for 3 adults all year.
  • Our average monthly water (and sewer and trash) bill was $59.67.  Again, for three people.
  • Our average monthly cell phone bill (for two phones) was $16.17 (but it is actually $44 per month) - Republic Wireless gave us free service for several months until we upgraded our phones.


Background
  • We are currently a household of three, but the 3rd person is only here temporarily.  She moved into my house in November 2011 and followed us to Florida.  Even though the arrangement was supposed to be measured in weeks, she is still here.  Having a roommate isn't perfect, but I receive $75 a week in rent and she cleans up after herself, so I won't complain.  Still, she insists she is moving soon.
  • I live in the Clearwater, Florida area, which is part of the Tampa Bay Metropolitan area.  We have hot, humid summers and mild winters.  Since we moved to Clearwater in August, 2012, I have not needed to turn on the heat.  Our air conditioning needs are similar to my previous home in Birmingham as Birmingham actually experiences slightly warmer summers than Clearwater. 
  • I set the thermostat to 60 in winter and 81 in summer.
  • The water bill also included sewer, trash and recycling charges.  I only pay for trash service because I am required to do so.
Cable TV
2006: $156
2007: $0
2008: $0
2009: $0
2010: $0
2011: $0
2012: $0

Electricity
2006: $755
2007: $679
2008: $1173
2009: $436
2010: $500
2011: $564
2012: $1106 ($731 excluding deposit at new house)

Internet
2006: $120
2007: $229
2008: $196
2009: $575
2010: $296
2011: $239
2012: $196

Natural Gas
2006: $205
2007: $0
2008: $132
2009: $529
2010: $485
2011: $447
2012: $163

Telephone
2006: $598
2007: $329
2008: $1323
2009: $1335
2010: $900
2011: $913
2012: $194

Water
2006: $327
2007: $432
2008: $571
2009: $573
2010: $522
2011: $559
2012: $936 ($716 excluding deposit at new house)

Total
2006: $2161
2007: $1669
2008: $3395
2009: $3448
2010: $2703
2011: $2722
2012: $2760 ($2165 excluding deposits)

Here is how our Utilities spending will change in 2012.  
  • Beginning in February, my partner will pay the water bill.  I will be tracking our usage but not our spending.
  • Our new home is all electric, so there will be no natural gas bill.
  • We still don't have Internet at home. 

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